Apple and Samsung are about to face a class action suit. In court documents filed last Friday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, the smartphone giants are accused of exceeding the legal RF emission limits set forth by the Federal Communications Commission.
In the class-action suit, it reads: “Numerous recent scientific publications, supported by hundreds of scientists worldwide, have shown that RF radiation exposure affects living organisms at levels well below most international and national guidelines.”
Also, the class action complaint said: “Effects include increased cancer risk, cellular stress, increase in harmful free radicals, genetic damages, structural and functional changes of the reproductive system, learning and memory deficits, neurological disorders, and negative impacts on general well-being in humans.”
The defendants of the class action suit are being sued for “negligence, breach of warranty, consumer fraud, and unjust enrichment, seeking actual damages, the costs of medical monitoring, restitution and injunctive relief.”
One of the lawyers from the firm handling the class plaintiffs, Beth Fegan said: “The fact that the Chicago Tribune can convene a group of experts and develop such convincing findings shows that the phone manufacturers may be intentionally hiding what they know about radiation output.”
The class suit against Samsung and Apple was filed after results of an independent study commissioned by the Chicago Tribune was published last Wednesday.
The Chicago Tribune paid for the smartphone test conducted last year. It was performed by an accredited California-based company called RF Exposure Lab. The laboratory is one of the few SAR testing labs in the United States.
The newspaper’s commission to test the smartphones were not meant to rank them according to safety. There were only a total of 11 smartphone models subjected to the testing.
In its report, the Chicago Tribune said: “The Federal Communications Commission, which is responsible for regulating phones, states on its website that if a cellphone has been approved for sale, the device “will never exceed” the maximum allowable exposure limit.
Based on the series of tests conducted, exposure from certain devices like Apple’s iPhone7, iPhone 8, and iPhone X has exceeded the limits federally mandated. Samsung Galaxy phones like S8, S9, and J3 also eclipsed the limits. There were also tests done on three Motorola phones and one Vivo smartphone.
In one of the testing phases, all the phones were situated at the same distance as where their manufacturers positioned them in their tests. The distance was usually between 5 to 15 millimeters.
However, a second phase was requested by the Chicago Tribune. According to the second test results, the Samsung Galaxy 8 recorded the highest radiation of 8.22. This was followed by Apple’s iPhone 7 with its 7.15 score. The distance of the standard test was done 2 millimeters away from the body.
When companies test their new phones for compliance, they are allowed to set the phones up to 25 millimeters away from the body. This all depends on how the device will be used.
In response to the test results that the Chicago Tribune has reported, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) said that it would conduct its testing over the next couple of months.
“We take seriously any claims on non-compliance with the RF (radio frequency) exposure standards and will be obtaining and testing the subject phones for compliance with FCC rules,” said FCC spokesman Neil Grace.
In response to the test results shared by the Chicago Tribune, Apple has questioned the findings. The tech giant said that the testing done by the laboratory was not the proper way to assess their iPhones.
Apple has yet to say what they specifically found wrong with the Chicago Tribune commissioned test. It also did not share the steps their phones undergo to test their radiofrequency radiation levels.
Based on Apple’s response, the Chicago Tribune requested for another round of tests to be done on the iPhones. For the iPhone 7, it still registered above the safety limit. The iPhone 8, on the other hand, had a new result. In the first test, its measurement was over the limit. However, in the new results, it came under the standard safety level.
The new test results were forwarded to Apple but they have declined a request for an interview and asked the Chicago Tribune send their questions instead.